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Appeared on EQ tv-showElliott Sullivan ( July 4. 1907 - June 2. 1974)



Siblings:
        Annie (ca 1883, Russia - ca 1889, Russia)
        Gertrude (Jun 15. 1884, Russia - ),
        Abraham (Jan 1893, Russia - ),
        
Elke/Ellie/Ella (Apr 1898, Texas - Feb 25. 1903)
        Selig/Sallinger (Mar 5. 1900, Coriscana, Tx - Oct 18. 1987 L.A., Ca)
        Rosa/Rose (Sep 3. 1903, San Antonio, Tx - Sep 29. 1988 San Antonio, Tx).
Marriages:
(1) Glenda Arlene Shields (Sep 1, 1939 - divorced)  (?)
(2) Norma Dolin (Apr 14. 1947, N.Y. - his death)
      Children: Marc & Abby
     


Born in San Antonio, Texas on July 4. 1907 as Eli (Aleck) Solomon. His parents, married in Russia around 1884, were Rabbi Solomon Zalmanovich
Solomon from Lithuania and Abigail aka Bessie Budowlia from Belarus. They had at least seven children.

Aleck/Eli went to the A&M College of Texas. He took an interest in acting and participated in Amateur Theatricals, Little Theater and stock productions before. He had been living in the house on Goliad Street where he was born until 1929 when he took off to Broadway for 5 years, making his Broadway debut in Morris Gest's Passion Play (1929). By then he performed under the name of Elliott Sullivan. Other plays followed such as Red Rust (1929), Lysistrata (1930-31) ...

Late 1936, armed with a bus fare and a little left over for meals he decided to try his luck in Los Angeles. Together with Pete Dreyfus and Joe Thompson he rented the former home of Lew Cody (dubbed Whack(e)y Manor) on Grace Avenue at a monthly rate of $25.00 per person.

   Ronald Reagan getting into a fight with Elliott Sullivan in Accidents will happen (1938)His most memorable character is Cagney's cellmate in The Roaring Twenties (1938) who says he'd rather die than stay in prison. This gives Cagney's character (who mentions this cellmate later on) the motivation to make money... no matter how.
Above left: Ronald Reagan getting into a fight with Elliott Sullivan in Accidents will happen (1938)
Above right:  His most memorable character is Cagney's cellmate in The Roaring Twenties (1938) who says he'd rather die than stay in prison. This gives Cagney's character (who mentions this cellmate later on) the motivation to make money... no matter how.


On Sep 1. 1939 he married Arlene Shields in L.A.

In addition to his theatrical works he had several small roles, many uncredited, in over 80 motion pictures. He was often type cast as a rough policeman or military serviceman (Elliott in fact enlisted in the army as private in 1943). He was seen in Winged Victory (1943-44) as Sergeant Casey, and in Skydrift (1945) as Corporal Kenneth Brody among others.

He was very consistently cast in gangster and mug roles, and he reportedly stated that he "would saw off his good right leg for just one good comedy role, just one."


They won't forget this crime. Brothers of the slain girl state their intentions clearly: "Mister, you say you're not sure - well, you better find out quick - because if you don't - law or no law - well..." They Won't Forget (1937) (L to R) Claude Rains, Elliott Sullivan, Wilmer Hines.King of the Underworld (1939) (L to R) Elliott Sullivan, Humprey Bogart, Unidentified [behind] and Kay Francis.
Above left: They won't forget this crime. Brothers of the slain girl state their intentions clearly: "Mister, you say you're not sure - well, you better find out quick - because if you don't - law or no law - well..." They Won't Forget (1937) (L to R) Claude Rains, Elliott Sullivan, Wilmer Hines.
Above right: King of the Underworld (1939) (L to R) Elliott Sullivan, Humprey Bogart, Unidentified [behind] and Kay Francis.

Millionaires in Prison (1940) Sullivan is on the right with Lee Tracy and Shemp Howard.Lane Bradford, Lynton Brent, Charles King, Pierce Lyden, Elliott Sullivan (left) and Dick Wessel in A Gentle Gangster (1943) 
Above left: Millionaires in Prison (1940) Sullivan is on the right with Lee Tracy and Shemp Howard. 
Above right: Lane Bradford, Lynton Brent, Charles King, Pierce Lyden, Elliott Sullivan (left) and Dick Wessel in A Gentle Gangster (1943)

 

Since 1949 television also provided a regular income. When Norman and Irving Pincus first brought The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1950-1951) to the little screen on the old Dumont network, Elliott was cast as Sergeant Velie.

Sullivan was a regular guest on The Philco Television Playhouse between 1951 and 1952.

His most prominent performance, lamentably, likely took place outside the entertainment business. In August 1955 he was called before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s infamous House Un-American activities Committee on the basis of previous testimony by more cooperative witnesses (Jerome Robbins, Martin Berkeley, Lee J. Cobb, Nicholas Bela) who had testified that Sullivan had been present at various Communist party meetings.
Before HUAC he was accused of hiring Communist entertainers and of putting on a show ridiculing the FBI and the Bill of Rights at a Summer resort for children and adults. It was reported that audience members at the Wingdale Lodge, at Wingdale, N. Y. were "shocked" by the performance on July 4. Sullivan claimed that Bill of Rights show was merely a "satire" of conditions that exist today and had nothing to do with Communist philosophies.
Rep. Francis E. Walter (D-Pa) committee chairman, asked Sullivan whether he believed he got jobs "despite the fact that you are a Communist.''
"I think you loaded the question," Sullivan replied.

Asked point blank if he was a Communist, Sullivan said: "You have no right to ask me that question. I want this straight for the record I'm no conspirator and I have committed no crime" In refusing to answer, Sullivan invoked not the Fifth Amendment against self‐incrimination but the First Amendment guaranteeing freedoms of speech and association.

When the chairman suggested the possibility of a contempt citation did not seem to make much difference to Sullivan the actor flared: “Of course it makes a difference to me. Contempt—I have a wife and two children and I'm anxious to work. I resent that remark that it doesn't make difference to me—that nonsense. It makes a very serious difference in my entire life.

At the time Sullivan was employed as Entertainment Director at Wingdale Lodge, an all-year round interracial resort which had presented some of America’s finest Black artists on its stage. In an open letter to The Jackson Advocate in late August 1955 Sullivan explained himself. "I am proud of my profession and the contribution it makes to the cultural life of America. Since I like to think of myself as a good American, I have always fought to enrich the culture of our country by fighting against the vicious discrimination which prevents Negro artists from enjoying equal job opportunities in radio, television, movies and the stage. ... I have been influential in engaging many Negro artists who are denied job opportunities in resorts else where. ... I have attempted to outline only some of the things I have done which in my own opinion, could easily have incurred the wrath of at least some southern members of the Committee. It is getting monotonous the way any honest person who takes a stand on any decent issue today is immediately branded and smeared and as a result deprived of his livelihood. I feel that I am one of those who is being lynched for his fight against jim-crow, and that it wouldn’t hurt to let people know some of the facts."

Sullivan was charged in 1957 with contempt of Congress after his appearance and was branded an unfriendly witness. He was acquitted by Federal Judge Sidney Sugarman in 1961 in a one‐day nonjury trial because of a technicality—the prosecution's failure to include in the indictment the resolution ordering the committee hearings.


In 1959 he became a permanent member of the Phoenix Theatre Repertory Company.

In 1962, he moved to London, became a member of British Actors Equity and continued his career in British and European productions. When the BBC made a mini-series of Anne of Green Gables (1972) he was notable in the role of Matthew Hamilton. He also had the minor role of a gas‐station operator in the 1974 film version of The Great Gatsby.

 

Sullivan appeared uncredited in a briefing in The Dirty Dozen (1967). (L to R) Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Webber, Elliott Sullivan.In the episode "Read and Destroy" Eliott Sullivan met with The Persuaders (1972), he is seen here with Tony Curtis
Above left: Sullivan appeared uncredited in a briefing in The Dirty Dozen (1967). (L to R) Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Webber, Elliott Sullivan.
Above right: In the episode "Read and Destroy" Eliott Sullivan met with The Persuaders (1972), he is seen here with Tony Curtis

   Barbara Hamilton, Elliott Sullivan and Kim Braden in Anne of Green Gables (1972) In Edward the Seventh (1975) Charles Sturidge as young Edward talking to a prisoner, played by Elliott Sullivan.
Above left: Barbara Hamilton, Elliott Sullivan and Kim Braden in Anne of Green Gables (1972) 
Above right: In Edward the Seventh (1975) Charles Sturidge as young Edward talking to a prisoner, played by Elliott Sullivan.


On June 2. 1974 while on a visit from London, Elliott Sullivan 66, died from a heart attack in Los Angeles at the UCLA Medical Center. He was survived by his wife, Norma, a son, Marc of Los Angeles, a daughter, Abby and one granddaughter.
Almost 11 months later he was seen one last time on TV in the illustrious BBC mini-series Edward the Seventh where he played his final role as a prisoner at the beginning of the third episode which aired on April 15. 1975.

Thanks to Dale C. Andrews

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References
(1) IMDb
(2) IBDB
(3) Wikipedia
(4) Radiogoldindex
(5) The New York Times
(6) The L.A. Times

Additional video & audio sources
(1) Edward the Seventh (1975) Ep 3: "The New World" - 
     YouTube
(2) The Persuaders (1972) Season 1 Ep 20 "Read and Destroy"
(3) The Dirty Dozen (1967) Clip YouTube

 
This actor profile is a part of the Ellery Queen a website on deduction. The actor above played Velie in the 1950-1951 TV series of The Adventures of Ellery Queen. Click Uncle Sam if you think you can help out...!


Page first published on May 6. 2021 
Last updated May 6. 2021 

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